"This is all about patient choice," Duncan said. "St. Alphonsus took this step reluctantly. ... It was essential to protect the Nampa community and the public."
Ken Dey, a spokesman for St. Luke's in Boise, contends that St. Alphonsus makes numerous inaccuracies in its legal filing.
"It's being portrayed as if St. Luke is taking over Saltzer, but the reality is, Saltzer approached us about entering into a partnership," he said. "They approached St. Als, too. Saltzer obviously felt St. Luke's was the best."
St. Luke's is an Idaho-based not-for-profit health system that's been on an expansion tear lately, growing to become Idaho's largest employer. It has acquired more than 20 physician practices, five hospitals and four surgery centers in just a few years.
This activity has attracted the attention of Federal Trade Commission regulators as well as the Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, whose office has urged St. Luke's to delay completing its Saltzer transaction pending its own review.
Just last week, Wasden complained St. Luke's hasn't yet provided necessary documents to help his office determine if the Saltzer transaction complies with the Idaho Competition Act.
"To proceed to close under such circumstances is not constructive and counter-productive," Wasden's office warned on Thursday, according to court documents. "Indeed, such a strategy would appear designed to invite litigation."